Woofing about Riordan
Re "Unleashed," Opinion, May 8
Where was Hizzoner in taking on the unions when he was in a position to actually do something? If former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan had fought to reduce the pension promises to all new hires who started with the city during his eight years, we would not now be looking at the ballooning pension costs that may cripple the city's fiscal future.
If Riordan, with tons of his own money to finance his political career, and ostensibly no further political ambitions, couldn't face down the powerful public unions, who can?
Thanks to Patt Morrison for her interview with Riordan, reminding us what a politician can be.
Riordan is pragmatic and intellectually honest, and he was very effective in office. He capably served the interests of all Angelenos and did not sacrifice his duty to the demands of his party, to nebulous ideology or even to his own political future.
Riordan remains the only Republican this lifelong Democratic ever voted for, and I only wish I could vote for him again.
Today Riordan worries about the city's solvency.
In 2001, he advocated pay raises and urged voters to increase pensions for police and fire personnel.
And in 1993, he demonstrated that he didn't want to pay for what he supports when he attempted to raid LAX coffers, by diverting $30 million from airport revenues into the city's general fund to pay for police. According to our calculations, under Riordan the pension fund for police and firefighters was only 60% funded. The reason? For nearly 35 years, the city made no contributions.
Yet, with a pension funding ratio nearly 40% lower than the current 96.2% we calculate, Riordan was never heard during his time as mayor calling the pension issue a crisis or urging bankruptcy.
Of course, for Riordan, talking out of both sides of his mouth is habitual.
The writer is president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Assn.
LAPD officers working three 12-hour shifts work 156 hours per 28-day deployment period. Officers working eight-hour shifts work 152 hours per deployment period — four hours fewer per period when factoring in the holidays.
Flexible scheduling has increased officer morale and significantly improved retention and recruitment. Additionally, flexible scheduling has allowed LAPD officers to be more involved in community events throughout the day, from neighborhood early morning breakfasts to evening meetings.
Flexible scheduling has been proven a success. Those who say otherwise, like Riordan, are pushing politics, not public safety.
Paul M. Weber
The writer is president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League.
Riordan perpetuates a common misunderstanding about how fire departments operate. He said: "And if you notice, almost every time a paramedic is called, a fire truck goes. It's just the union trying to prove you need more firefighters."
There are reasons fire engines respond with the paramedics. In most fire departments there are more engines than paramedic units. A fire engine can usually arrive at the scene of a medical emergency several minutes before the paramedics — several minutes that can be the difference between life and death. Also, on most emergencies, paramedics need help to perform the tasks required. The more hands the better. The engine company also has a fire captain assigned to it. He provides supervision at the scene of the emergency. Many times, tools and equipment are needed from the fire engine to effect a rescue, provide forcible entry or extrication and so on. Paramedic units do not carry all of this equipment.
Fire engines have accompanied paramedics since the latter were first developed. The system worked then, and it works now.
The unions may be a problem in some areas of city operations, but in this case, Riordan is wrong.
The writer is a retired fire captain, Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Re "L.A. votes to curb official Arizona trips," May 13
Instead of visiting Los Angeles this summer as planned, I will be taking my children and grandchildren to Arizona.
You are a national disgrace. Remember: Boycotts cut both ways.
Staten Island, N.Y.
Congratulations, L.A.. I live in Arizona but do not support the immigration law recently passed by our state "leaders."
However, through your resolution, you have equally discriminated against hardworking Americans who happen to live or conduct business in Arizona. We may want to do business with L.A., or even visit, but may now reconsider.
Your ignorance is showing.
As an Arizonan, I don't care what California thinks of our state laws.
It is we who live here — not you — who have to deal with the problems that illegal aliens (yes, I'm politically incorrect!) bring to this state. You need to fix your own state before you address Arizona's problems.